This blog gains its name from the book Steele's Answers published in 1912. I am slowly blogging through Steele's Answers, posting each Q & A in the order in which they appear (whether I personally agree with the answer or not). But, these posts come from several other sources, as well. I post particularly eloquent passages from Dr. Steele's other writings. Occasionally I post "guest blogs" from other holiness writers.

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Was Judas Always a Devil?

QUESTION: Our minister thinks that Judas was always a devil. Is this true?

ANSWER: This theory implies the following difficulties: That Christ knowingly chose a devil, thus setting an example to his church to license bad men to preach; that Christ commissioned a devil to work miracles, even to raise the dead and to cast out devils, thus justifying the charge of his enemies that he cast out devils through a devil (Matt. 10:2-9). We should note that Jesus, speaking three years after the call of Judas, did not say he was a devil from the beginning, but is a devil now. A good man may backslide very far in three years. There was evidently a growth in badness in John 6:70, where he intimates that Judas is under the influence of the devil, just as he means that Peter is influenced by Satan when he calls him Satan (Matt. 16; 23). The growth of the spirit of greed six months afterwards reached its climax, in John 13:26, 27.

Steele's Answers pp. 190, 191.

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Marrying Unbelievers

QUESTION: (1) Has a Christian a right to marry a sinners (2) Has a minister a right to celebrate such a marriage?

ANSWER: There is no human law against it, nor any prohibition in the Decalogue, but an inspired apostle forbids it, "Be not unequally yoked with unbelievers" (II Cor. 6:14-17). "The apostle," says Wesley, "speaks especially of marriage and gives three arguments against it in the context." Many a Christian has made a shipwreck by violating this prohibition, thinking that conversion would be effected by home missionary work. But instead of that the unbelieving husband often perverts the Christian wife by urging her to go with him to the theater, the dance, the card party, and the Sunday excursion. (2) We have always admired the refusal of Spurgeon to celebrate the marriage of any member of his church with an unbeliever, though I have not always followed his example. He illustrates the delusion of the expectation of conversion after marriage on this wise: "It is like one standing on a table trying to lift them up to his level. The one below will almost certainly pull the other down." History proves this. Professedly Christian parents, who prefer for their daughter a rich sinner to a poor saint will have much to answer for in the day of judgment, and. often in this life sorrows follow such a marriage in the shape of divorce, or wicked, sons-in-law or ungodly grandchildren.

Steele's Answers pp. 189, 190.

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

When Was Jesus Glorified?

QUESTION: When was Jesus glorified?

ANSWER: To glorify God or Christ is to make him known and acknowledged as being all that he claims to be. Christ is spoken of several times as being glorified (John 12:28; 13:31; 17:10); but in his prayer in John 17:1 he still prays for glorification. We infer that his body was not changed by his resurrection, it still being flesh and bones. (Luke 24:39). This glorification occurred after leaving the earth. It was too dazzling for mortals to see; it almost killed Saul of Tarsus and John (Acts 9:4; Rev. 1:17).

Steele's Answers p. 189.

Monday, September 29, 2014

Christ Breathes the Spirit (John 20:22)

QUESTION: When Christ breathed on his disciples in John 20:22, in what capacity did they receive the Holy Spirit?

ANSWER: It is worthy of note that the same Greek word is here used as that in Gen. 2:7, to express the inspiration of the new, spiritual life of recreated humanity By "breathing," as Augustine observes, "Jesus shewed that the Spirit was not the Spirit of the Father only, but also his own," and as it is without the Greek article, it is a gift of the Spirit rather than the Person of the Spirit. This gift of spiritual life was necessary to their reception of the Personal Spirit at Pentecost. A dead soul can be inspired with life, but cannot actively receive the Personal Spirit in all his offices, especially that of entire sanctification.

Steele's Answers pp. 188, 189.

Saturday, September 27, 2014

Sanctification & the Lodge

QUESTION: Can a sanctified person retain the experience and carry insurance in a fraternal order, although he never attends the lodge or takes any part in the proceedings?

ANSWER: I infer that the new experience is subsequent to joining the order, which he has found not promotive of his spiritual life, and for this reason abstains from its meetings, but continues to pay the dues, because of the loss of money already paid for insurance should he now cease. Knowing, not from experience, but from observation, that membership in such orders is not helpful to the spiritual life, I would suggest to this brother that no financial loss, however great, can outweigh any spiritual loss, however small. Always give the spiritual and not the material side the benefit of your doubt.

Steele's Answers p. 188.

Friday, September 26, 2014

Are the 10 Commandments Still in Force?

QUESTION: Our holiness preacher says the Decalogue is not in force now, having been nailed to the cross and is not binding now. Is this so?

ANSWER: Paul, in Col. 2:14, is speaking of "forgiveness of trespasses." Christ's atoning death affords a new ground of our acceptance with God instead of the plea that we have perfectly kept his law, which condemns us all, for we have all sinned, and therefore are excluded from legal justification. But evangelical justification is now possible, because God through Christ has taken away the law as the ground of justification, but not as THE RULE OF LIFE. This is what Paul means when he says, "We are not under the law but under grace." Some have done much harm by teaching that believers are not under obligations to keep the moral law. They are called Antinomians. See the book entitled, "A Substitute for Holiness," published by the Christian Witness Co., for an extended answer to this pernicious error.

Steele's Answers pp. 187, 188.

Thursday, September 25, 2014

The Five Foolish Virgins

QUESTION: Were the five foolish virgins regenerated?

ANSWER: Yes; they were all companions of the Bride, all had brightly burning lamps or torches, all up to a certain time were fully prepared to meet the Bridegroom. The moral of the parable is the blessedness of endurance unto the end through the faith which secures and preserves the fullness of the Holy Spirit of whom olive oil is the emblem (Zech. 4:3-14, I John 2:20, 27), and the sad failure of some to secure a full preparation for the future exigencies of the spiritual life. See Matt. 13:3-7.

Steele's Answers p. 187.

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

The Restoration of Backsliders

QUESTION: How is it possible for one who has been saved and fallen into sin to come back to God in the face of Ezek. 33:18, where it says, "but in his iniquity that he hath committed therein shall he die"?

ANSWER:  The querist misinterprets this passage, which means, not that there is no possible salvation for a backslider, but that he must die in his iniquity, if he trusts in his  former  righteousness with no repentance and faith in God's mercy as emphatically expressed in verse 11, "As I live, saith the Lord Jehovah, I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked; but that the wicked turn from his way and live; turn ye, for why will ye die, O house of Israel." This tender and urgent entreaty includes apostates, as in Hos. 14:4, Isaiah 30:9 compared with ver. 15, "In returning and rest shall ye be saved." Mal. 8:7, "Return unto me, and I will return unto you, saith the Lord of hosts," Luke 22:21, 32, "When thou art converted (restored) strengthen thy brethren." The prodigal son was a backslider whose return was received with gladness, robe, ring, shoes and a real dinner.

Steele's Answers pp. 186, 187.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Is a "New Birth" Expereince Necessary?

QUESTION: When a little child is baptized and trained up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord, and being morally correct is received into the church without realizing any change of heart, is he to be considered as a Bible Christian?

ANSWER: No; but he is on a good vantage ground for becoming such, if he does not rest satisfied with nominal Christianity, and is earnestly seeking the new birth. Unless he does this his church membership is an opiate inducing a fatal spiritual stupor. It is also a shield against the arrow of awakening Gospel appeals. It is perilous to trust in morality, creeds, and sacraments, to live and die destitute of spiritual life, which only he has "who hath the Son."

Steele's Answers pp. 185, 186.

Monday, September 22, 2014

"I Never Knew You"

QUESTION: Explain Matt. 7:28, "Then will I profess unto them, 'I never knew you; depart from me, ye that work iniquity.'" Show (1) the meaning of "knew," and (2) the ground of Christ's condemnation of these Christian laborers.

ANSWER: He did not recognize them as worthy of intimacy and complacent love, nor did he own them as friends. (2) They had used his name not to promote his glory, but for their own selfish ends, money, honor, power, or social prominence. It is an enormous sin for an unconverted or blackslidden preacher to pervert to ambitious purposes that precious name which suggests amazing self-sacrifice, and in his personal character to misrepresent to the world the sinless Son of Man, the model by which we may become sons of God. This helps us understand why unbelief is the root and sum of all sins.

Steele's Answers p. 185.